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ExxonMobil resumes production at $19bn LNG project in quake-hit PNG

EBR Staff Writer Published 13 April 2018

ExxonMobil has restarted operations at its $19bn PNG LNG project in Papua New Guinea (PNG), less than two months after it was shut down following a massive earthquake in late February.

The company said that it has safely resumed production of liquefied natural gas (LNG), ahead of schedule at an LNG facility located near Port Moresby. It expects LNG exports to resume shortly.

ExxonMobil said that while one train of the Port Moresby LNG plant has been put back into service, the other train is likely to restart in due course of time in line with the ramping up of production from the Hides and other gas fields.

The oil and gas firm completed unrelated maintenance of the LNG plant after suspending production in the aftermath of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake of 26 February to ensure that it operates efficiently in the coming months.

ExxonMobil Production president Neil W. Duffin said: “Resuming LNG production ahead of our projected eight-week timeframe is a significant achievement for ExxonMobil, our joint-venture partners and our customers.”

ExxonMobil is the operator of the PNG LNG project with a stake of 33.2% and is partnered by five other companies - Oil Search (29%), Kumul Petroleum (16.8%), Santos (13.5%), JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration (4.7%) and Mineral Resources Development (2.8%).

Oil Search, in a statement, said: “One of Oil Search’s highest priorities following the earthquake was to ensure that our Central Processing Facility and the liquids export system, which are integral parts of the PNG LNG Project infrastructure, were ready to receive, store and export PNG LNG liquids and export Associated Gas as soon as the Project recommenced gas production.”

The Australian firm revealed that only minor remedial works had to be carried out and the facilities were back into service by April.

The PNG LNG project is made up of gas production and processing facilities that extend from Hela, Southern Highlands, Western and Gulf provinces to Port Moresby in Central Province. These facilities are connected by onshore and offshore pipeline of more than 700km.

Image: Production at the PNG LNG project had to be stopped for nearly two months after a massive earthquake. Photo: courtesy of Petroleum man1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.